I suppose drafting polemics takes time, or perhaps there is another reason for his deficiency. For Daniel Hannan MEP, European poster boy for the Tory right, seems increasingly to be neglecting the very work he is supposed to be doing – representing his constituents from South East England in the European Parliament, and playing his role as a legislator in the EU’s parliament.
First there are the records of meetings between lobbyists and Conservative members of the European Parliament, published for the period 1 January until 30 June 2010 [PDF here]. Hannan is one of only 2 MEPs (together with Robert Atkins) who states zero meetings with lobbyists. The definition of lobbyist is very wide – basically encompassing anyone who would seek to influence a MEP, or has any concerns about legislation. Hannan commented to Public Affairs News that he believes in direct democracy and does not believe he should speak to anyone. I would counter that when it comes to technicalities of legislation it’s beyond the abilities of any MEP, even one as smug about his mental abilities as Hannan, to understand all the technicalities of what is to be voted about.
Secondly there is Hannan’s committee work. As the official page about him on the EP website shows, he’s a member of one committee (Constitutional Affairs) and one delegation (ACP), and he’s not listed as a substitute on any committee. This gives him the lightest possible amount of legislative work to deal with.
So does he turn up to vote in plenary of the EP when it’s important? Not when it comes to the vital amendments proposed by the European Parliament to the financial framework for the EU, as detailed in this blogpost from Open Europe. Here too Atkins was also absent. Hannan also has the third worst attendance record of all the Tory MEPs, behind only Sajjad Karim (a defector from the Lib Dems in the last EP term) and David Campbell Bannerman (a recent defector from UKIP).
So the next time you hear Hannan whining about the ineffectiveness of the EU, ask whether he has been setting an adequate example to his peers.
[UPDATE – 10.6.11, 1900]
Just received this tweet from Martin Ehrenhauser MEP:
@jonworth He also finished his position as chair of the interparliamentarien group SOS Democracy last year. No one knows exactly why.
— Martin Ehrenhauser (@mehrenhauser) June 10, 2011
May 30, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution